With the onset of fall, the season of Halloween and pumpkin spice is upon us. But more importantly, fall signals the coming of the joyous Mexican celebration, the Day of the Dead, also known as Día de los Muertos.
The Day of the Dead is the centerpiece of Pixar’s upcoming film Coco, a love letter to the Mexican holiday and the country’s music. Following a young aspiring musician named Miguel who finds himself stuck in the Land of the Dead during the Day of the Dead, the new Coco trailer showcases a lush, vivid vision of both the afterlife and the family in the Land of the Living that Miguel is so eager to leave behind.
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Skeletons are no stranger to animation — or reanimation. One of Disney’s earliest short films, Skeleton Dance, featured some surprisingly dexterous skeletons dancing in a graveyard, and animated films throughout the years have kept up the spooky tradition, from the 1993 classic Nightmare Before Christmas to 2005’s The Corpse Bride.
It was not even the first time these bags of bones would be rendered in CGI animation, with 2014’s The Book of Life bringing skeletons into the modern age. However, this was the first time that Pixar has attempted to animate skeletons, so they tackled the challenge with the meticulous precision that the studio is known for.
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Is it possible to “Pixar-ify” an entire cultural tradition and transform it into a family-friendly, merchandise-ready movie? Those are the fears that some might have about Coco, Pixar’s upcoming film centers around Mexico’s beloved Day of the Dead or Día de los Muertos. But those fears can be put to rest, as Coco is as respectful in its treatment of Día de los Muertos as it is eager to share the joyous Mexican holiday with the rest of the world.
Coco follows a Mexican boy named Miguel (voiced by relative newcomer Anthony Gonzalez) whose overwhelming passion for music drives him to disobey his family — who, after a traumatizing incident from the past, has banned all music in their household — and attempt to prove himself as a musician like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt). But a series of rash decisions causes him to be stuck in the Land of the Dead on Día de los Muertos. There, he teams up with a ragamuffin skeleton named Hector (Gael Garcia Bernal) on a mission to find de la Cruz, who he believes can help him return to the land of the living.
As fantastical a story as it sounds, Coco actually touches on more universal values than you would think: family, nostalgia, music, and adorable dogs. But amazingly, it tells this tale in a bilingual tongue, with the setting placed firmly in the fictional Mexican town of Santa Cecilia and its afterworld counterpart. The cast is entirely Latino, and Spanish phrases are sprinkled throughout the movie — with nary a subtitle to be seen. But rather than being alienating, these aspects of multiculturalism only serves to make Coco more authentic, serving as a bridge to a culture that hasn’t often been explored in mainstream animated films.
Earlier this month, I visited Pixar to get an early glimpse of the footage of Coco, as well as insight into the process of Coco’s long journey to the big screen from its directors, animators, and artists.
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This summer will bring Cars 3 to theaters, but it’s just one of two new movies from Pixar Animation hitting the big screen this year. In fact, when Cars 3 arrives in theaters next week, it will come with a new trailer for Pixar’s 2017 release, the music-infused, Mexican-inspired animated adventure Coco.
Ahead of the new trailer, Pixar Animation has announced the full, all-Latino voice cast for Coco. We already knew that newcomer Anthony Gonzales was voicing the lead character of Miguel, an aspiring musician living in a household that has banned music, believing it has cursed their family for generations. Following his heart and love of a famous, late musician named Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt), Miguel learns of an amazing link between him and his favorite musician that leads him to an adventure in the Land of the Dead.
The full Pixar Coco voice cast list reveals the many characters we’ll encounter in both the lands of the living and the dead, and you can read all about them below. Read More »
Posted on Wednesday, March 15th, 2017 by Jacob Hall
Pixar is releasing two new movies in 2017. First, we’re getting Cars 3, which feels like something of a safe bet because Pixar sequels are almost always a safe bet (Finding Dory made every last dollar on planet earth last year). But later in 2017, we’re getting Coco, the next film from Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich, and it feels like a less sure move. Of course, Pixar’s “risky” moves have often resulted in some of their absolute best films, so let’s keep that in mind as we watch the first Coco trailer.
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Posted on Tuesday, December 6th, 2016 by Angie Han
For the most part, we know roughly what to expect from Pixar’s upcoming slate. Of the four films they’ve announced for the next three years, three are sequels — Cars 3, The Incredibles 2, and Toy Story 4. The sole exception is Coco, first announced back in 2012 and first named back in 2015. Details have been pretty sparse, aside from the fact that it’s being directed by Lee Unkrich (Toy Story 3) and centers around the Mexican holiday of Día de los Muertos. But that changes today.
With about a year to go until Coco hits theaters, Pixar has unleashed a torrent of new info about their original adventures. For starters, we now know that the voice cast includes Benjamin Bratt and Gael García Bernal, and that the story centers around a little boy with forbidden musical ambitions. There’s much, much more where that came from so click through to get all the latest on Pixar’s Coco, including a new look at some art from the movie. Read More »
Posted on Friday, August 14th, 2015 by Angie Han
The Untitled Pixar Movie About Dia De Los Muertos, as it’s been called, finally has a real title. Pixar revealed at today’s D23 presentation that the movie is officially named Coco, after one of the major characters in the story. Lee Unkrich is directing and Darla Anderson is producing. The pair last teamed up on Toy Story 3.
Find out everything we learned about Coco at the D23 presentation after the jump.
Update: Unkrich shared a photo that shows the official Coco logo. Read More »
At Pixar, movies are in development for years before we even know they exist. Then, even when we do hear of their existence, they’re still multiple years away. So when news breaks about Toy Story 4 or The Incredibles 2, those films are still several years away and have been in development for much longer than that.
In 2012, it was revealed that Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich was working on “a wholly original Pixar Animation Studios film that delves into the vibrant holiday of Día de los Muertos.” Since then, we’ve heard dribs and drabs about the film but Pixar has yet to give it a title or a release date. That’s curious, but not uncommon, at Pixar. Now, we’ve heard a potentially very big piece of information about the movie.
Oscar-winner Randy Newman, who has been a mainstay at Pixar, said in a new interview that Unkrich’s new movie is a musical. Does he mean the Dia de los Muertos movie? Seems likely. Below, find out more about what might be the first Pixar musical. Read More »
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From 2001 to 2009, Pixar released original films almost every year. And they were all great. Then they did Toy Story 3, followed by Cars 2 and with this year’s Monsters University, some fans have began to complain the company is relying too heavily on older material. Others argued that out of 14 films, there are only four sequels and only one of those wasn’t legitimately fantastic. So what’s the worry?
Turns out Pixar has heard fan complaints and are taking them to heart. Ed Catmull, the President of Pixar, said in an interview that the studio is hoping to do an original movie every single year, and sequels only every other year. That plan is already in place with a prequel this year (Monsters University), an original film next year (The Good Dinosaur), then an original film (Inside Out) and sequel (Finding Dory) in 2015. Plus, we can now guess what’s being released in 2016 and 2017. Read More »
Outside of naming a certain director for a certain sequel taking place in a galaxy far, far away, I can’t think of a better way for Disney to kick off 2013 than looking ahead to three upcoming Pixar films. This year will bring the prequel Monsters University, but we already know the three films on Pixar’s slate after that. 2014 will bring Bob Peterson‘s The Good Dinosaur, 2015 will bring Pete Docter‘s inside the mind movie, possibly called The Inside Out, and then Lee Unkrich will release his latest film, a still untitled movie about a family that takes place on the Mexican Day of the Dead.
Concept art from all three of those films has just been revealed in the form of a Pixar holiday card and the images are our first real look at work from any of the films. Check it out below. Read More »